Frost Ring Arena, $100,000 USD Prize Tournament, and Spiders… Oh my!
Hi HEXers! We have an extremely exciting update in-store for you!
Gameforge and HEX Entertainment have partnered up to run the first large prize tournament for HEX: Shards of Fate that will take place this year. Gameforge first announced this tournament earlier today at IEM (Intel Extreme Masters) in Katowice, Poland. The tournament will host over $100,000 USD in prize money. All registered players that play in the North American and European servers of HEX: Shards of Fate will have a chance to take part in ranked tournaments on a regular basis to earn qualifier points. More details to follow!
Welcome to Frost Ring Arena. This past Tuesday, we patched in the first PVE feature for HEX: Shards of Fate. And the feedback has been extremely positive—we’ve increased our hardware three-fold in order to meet demand. We’ve also introduced COD item mailing, equipment, bug fixes, performance upgrades, and more. For a full view of what we’ve done, check out our patch overview and the patch notes. The arena is completely free to players, so download the game if you haven’t already and jump in. While you’re doing that, check out the full length Frost Ring Arena trailer.
So far, things look very good for the game. The patch was done in the time scheduled and we were able to alleviate latency issues within hours of opening the servers. We also patched in a few bug fixes on Thursday to great success. We’re continuing to observe the game for bugs and other latency issues throughout the weekend. We plan on patching in Dungeon Crawler 100% loot bonus reward within the next two weeks, and we’ll try to work in as many bug fixes that we can at the same time.
Thank you again to everyone who has supported HEX from the beginning of the Kickstarter to this point. We’re so psyched to get this latest feature into your hands, and we’re going to continue to deliver on everything we’ve promised HEX can be.
In today’s update, R&D’s Phil Cape is here to take a closer look at one of the frozen construct opponents: the vennen Xarlox.
The Frost Ring Arena has opened, and HEX players from around the globe have descended in search of glory, gold, and loot. We here at HEX R&D couldn’t be happier as this represents months of work that we couldn’t really tell you all about until now. Today I want to talk a bit about one specific champion, his deck, and how it got to be that way. From the early buzz he’s one of the toughest opponents the Arena has to offer and, in our experience, he has generated a lot of fun and interesting moments. That opponent is Xarlox, the Brood Lord, with an honorable mention to his powerful pet Terrorantulas.
When we first started work on the Arena, we really wanted to include decks spotlighting the eight playable races. This was tricky for the four races not featured in the first set: elves, coyotle, necrotic, and vennen. Of these, vennen proved the most challenging – they had the fewest cards that were specifically themed to them, and that’s including themed actions. There are only 5 vennen troops in all of set one, one of whom is Xarlox himself, meaning that a vennen themed deck would need more than just troops of the correct race to feel like a vennen deck.
First we set out to give the Champion some powers, and we looked to the existing vennen card pool for some help. Luckily, this was around the time that Set 3 development was in full swing, and since they are featured there, the Xarlox deck took some cues from the vennen decks that were popping up in draft and incorporated a burying element. This was a great mechanical match, as the Xarlox PvP card buries cards to create Spiderspawn, a power we eventually decided was just perfect for Xarlox’s charge power. Which brings me to the most compelling element of the Xarlox encounter: the three Terrorantula eggs he adds to your deck as the game begins. When one of those eggs enters your graveyard or hand, it hatches. The good news is that it doesn’t eat up your draw for the turn – the bad news is that the big, bad Terrorantula comes down for Xarlox, killing your best troop and taking over the board. Most of Xarlox’s deck is built around making these big baddies come down as soon as possible.
Next we set out to create the arena-specific cards for Xarlox – there was only one PvP Champion, the inimitable Zared Venomscorn troop, so the remaining cards had a little more flexibility. Ushul was tagged as the reward card from vennen, so we wanted his design to be a little more open ended than the others. He still fills a useful role for Xarlox’s deck, gumming up the ground and ensuring that the vennen army will soon outnumber yours. I really like that his power feels a little invasive and a little cruel without being a nightmare to play against. Inquisitor Thist was created to fill another need – many of the existing vennen were on the costly side from a resource perspective, and even though the deck would assuredly have a control bend to it, it still needed some early plays. This little guy helps advance Xarlox’s plans from multiple sides – the extra health from his lifedrain ensures Xarlox will survive until the midgame, and the burying helps bring out his Terrorantulas. Finally, we used the last new card slot on an action, Web of Death. We really wanted to drive home the idea that vennen are more action based than the other races. It’s a powerful little removal card that, once again, helps Xarlox hatch his Terrorantulas.
Once we had our pieces in place, it came time to actually construct the deck. We had a couple general rules we tried to follow. Specifically, we wanted to use a wider variety of cards in smaller quantities than we might if we were building a deck for consistency. Since these decks will be played over and over again, we wanted to make sure there was a wide enough range of possibilities to keep it from getting boring. One way we did this was strategic use of singletons. For example, Xarlox’s deck includes exactly one copy of Verdict of the Ancient Kings – just enough to keep the player guessing, but not enough to ruin someone’s day. One Extinction keeps you honest, but allows the play to remain fresh. Best of all, the system is set up so R&D can easily change quantities and swap cards in and out; it takes me all of five minutes to change cards in Arena decks, and as such we can go back and change things up if we feel an encounter is getting stale.
I hope you’re all having as much fun with the Frost Ring Arena as we did making it, and I can’t wait for you to see all the awesome new stuff we’re working on now! Happy Farming!
Here’s what Xarlox’s deck looks like currently:
3 Xentoth’s Inquisitor Socketed with Major Sapphire of Subterfuge
For those of you looking for a PVP challenge, the Five Shards Sapphire Cup presented by Colin is happening this weekend, March 14th through 15th. This is a completely community-run event, and there are big prize$ available. You can see all the information here.